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Personal Injury

If Drivers Injure Pedestrians, Do They Face Criminal Charges in New York City?

December 21, 2012 | Michael Barasch

Assuming driver negligence caused injuries to a pedestrian, the possibility exists for criminal prosecution. But the NYPD may not investigate accidents that are not fatal, so many drivers cause injuries without facing criminal charges. Even in the case of fatal accidents, delays in investigation can cause liable drivers to escape prosecution.

The June 11, 2012 issue of New York Magazine reports that cars killed more than 200 pedestrians and cyclists in New York City over the previous year, and only 17 drivers face criminal charges. A February City Council meeting looking into the reason for the low incidence of criminal prosecutions in these cases revealed that police investigations only take place when victims die or appear likely to die. In one case that generated a lawsuit by a widower, a three-day delay in investigating the collision that killed his wife resulted in the loss of vital evidence.

Regardless of if a negligent driver faces criminal charges for causing injury to a pedestrian, victims can file a civil personal injury suit to pursue compensation for all expenses relating to their injuries and other losses. While seeking immediate medical attention is the first priority, any injury victim should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible, to determine if a lawsuit makes sense, based on the details of the accident, and to help preserve as much evidence as possible for the case.

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